My Intro to Opera–Bizet’s “Carmen”

In the fall of 2015, I saw my first professional production of Bizet’s opera, Carmen, by the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. It was wonderful! I went all-out, buying a video, soundtrack album, and libretto. Sometimes you just have to listen at home as well. I was completely captivated by the costumes, set, the singing, and the lighting. The ending, though expected, left me feeling as though I had been punched in the gut.

It was my very first opera anywhere. I also thoroughly enjoyed the pre-opera presentation. Had I known about the discussion afterward, I would have stayed for that as well. Before the performance, I went over the background material in my opera reference book and listened to the info on the Kennedy Center website

I have known the music since I was a child. Sesame Street long ago featured an animation of one of the famous arias. I’ve encountered it since through music appreciation classes and other recordings. It is, arguably, one of the most performed and accessible operas. The Met is launching a new production of it in January 2017.

Classical WETA 90.9 often plays Sarasate’s  “Carmen Fantasy.” I always enjoy listing to that, Here is Sarah Chang’s interpretation:

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Bizet’s Symphony in C

I found another composer to learn about in greater detail–Georges Bizet.  So many people are familiar with his opera, Carmen. From a young age, I heard selections from it, but have never seen it performed. Somewhere along the line, I must have known it was his final work, but I had forgotten that until recently.

In his unfortunately very short career, Bizet, composed symphonies, dramas, and other works. Yesterday morning, I heard Symphony in C for  the first time. It’s gorgeous!